Veteran ministers join top advisory body

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 March, 2008, 12:00am

Jia Qinglin re-elected as CPPCC chief as new faces appear among 25 vice-chairmen

New leaders for the mainland's top advisory body were elected yesterday, including some retired ministers and the son of late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping .

As expected, Jia Qinglin, 68, was re-elected chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference - which has little real policy-making power.

The CPPCC delegates also elected 25 vice-chairmen.

Qian Yunlu, 64, an ally of President Hu Jintao, was chosen as CPPCC secretary general, putting him in charge of the daily running of the organisation.

Mr Qian is the former secretary of the Communist Youth League in Hubei. The youth league is generally considered to be Mr Hu's power base. Mr Qian later became party secretary of Heilongjiang and Guizhou provinces.

'Mr Qian will play a crucial role in the advisory body as most vice-chairmen work just part-time,' a CPPCC member, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

Two more key players and newcomers are Du Qinglin , head of the United Front Department of the Communist Party, and Wang Gang , a Communist Party Politburo member.

It is an implicit rule that the Communist Party United Front Department chief joins the CPPCC leadership because the CPPCC plays a central role in the party leadership's liaison with non-Communist Party politicians.

The low-key Mr Wang is widely considered a close aide of Mr Hu, and he had often accompanied him on overseas trips. According to China News Service, he is the first Politburo member in CPPCC history to become a vice-chairman of the body.

Another new face to the vice-chairmanship was Deng Pufang , the wheelchair-bound son of Deng Xiaoping and chairman of China Disabled Persons' Federation.

Two ministers who will retire soon - Li Jinhua and Sun Jiazheng - joined the top CPPCC echelon as vice-chairmen, continuing a tradition of retired or retiring ministers sitting on the advisory body to offer their advice to the government. Mr Li is auditor general and Mr Sun is minister of culture.

Mr Li is stepping down as the auditing chief as he reaches the official retirement age of 65. The outspoken auditor was widely credited for turning the auditing agency into a more powerful organ, exposing many cases of financial irregularities by government ministries.

Two old faces among the vice-chairmen are Tung Chee-hwa, former chief executive of Hong Kong, and Ma Man-kei, a tycoon representing Macau. A vice-chairman's vacancy left by the death of Hong Kong tycoon Henry Fok Ying-tung was not filled by another member from Hong Kong.

Liao Hui , director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, was re-elected a vice-chairman.

Most other vice-chairmen were representatives from the eight non-Communist parties and ethnic minorities.

Hu Deping, son of late party general secretary Hu Yaobang, was not elected as tipped.

The meeting also elected 298 Standing Committee members.